Shifting visions: Understanding your patients and creating value.

We are living in a new reality. The following article explores how you can shift your vision to strengthen your competitive edge and connect with your patients during turbulent times. Our goal is to set you up for success with tangible tools and examples to use in your own practice, focusing on understanding your patients and creating value during these times.

A new customer is emerging; one that is financially constrained, more advanced in their use of digital technologies and more thoughtful and selective in their decision-making. A KPMG study on the ‘Customer and their New Reality’ with 12300 participants in over 120 markets showed 6 main drivers for purchases in this new world:

  • Value for money - 63% 
  • Ease of buying - 42%
  • Trust in the brand - 41%
  • Personal safety - 40%
  • Range of products and services - 37%
  • Customer experience - 35%

In addition to price, emotional value such as reducing anxiety, shared values and social conscience is now equally important. The study also showed that consumers increasingly purchase from companies they trust, at a time where trust is becoming more complex to build.

Now the challenge is not just to stand-out from other businesses, but to innovate and transform. This transformation can sound like a big change, but in essence it is working with the information you already have, and transforming it to benefit your customer. Structuring it and making long term plans for your patient relationships.

Many of your patients have been financially impacted and will be living differently for some time. This causes challenges, but it also provides opportunities for you to become even more patient centric.

The value of segmentation

To become more valuable, you need to be able to differentiate your customers to more effectively satisfy the needs of the different segments. But how do you segment your customers and how do you measure customer value? To be more valuable over the long-haul, it is important to have a clear understanding of customer segmentation.

Dividing your customers into groups will help you identify the core needs of each group. This helps you clearly refine your proposition to be relevant to them and their problems. An expertise orientated patient who comes in once every three years has different needs than someone who is fashion orientated and walks in your shop each time you launch new frames. The nuance in approach is important, and most ECPs are doing this naturally. However, thinking about the holistic experience helps you improve the overall experience for your patient, encouraging them to come back more often and think of your store as the place to be for their own individual needs.

Segmentation also allows you to tailor your marketing efforts - communications and service experience, to various audience subsets. Specifically, segmentation helps you:

  • Create and communicate targeted marketing messages that will resonate with specific groups of patients, but not with others (who will receive messages tailored to their needs and interests, instead)
  • Select the best communication channel for the segment, which might be email, social media posts or another approach, depending on the segment
  • Identify ways to improve products or new product or service opportunities
  • Establish better patient relationships
  • Test pricing options
  • Focus on the most profitable customers
  • Improve customer service

How to start your segmentation?

Customer segmentation is the process of separating your customers into groups based on certain traits (e.g. personality, interests, habits) and factors (e.g. demographics, industry, income) they share. There are four key attitudes towards purchasing glasses which could be a starting point to think about your own patient base. Most patients will not fit in one box only, but will have one leading attitude towards buying glasses.

1.1 Style Orientated

Patients that highly value style and appearance. The main driver of this group is a change of frames, which should be fashionable and aesthetically pleasing. This group usually purchases designer frames and the best lenses. They like to have several frames in order to change their appearance whenever they like.

This group is looking for value in Variety, Sensory Appeal, Quality, Attractiveness and Design & Aesthetics.

1.2 Vision focussed

Patients who attend regular eye examinations are not waiting until they struggle to see things or until there is sales promotion running. This group believes regular eye examinations and change of lenses will maintain healthy eyesight. They perceive healthy eyesight to be important. They follow the opticians recommendation, choosing good quality lenses and have the tendency to return to the same practice.

This group is looking for value in Reducing Risks, Reducing Anxiety, Wellbeing, Information and Quality.

1.3 Avoidant

Patients who focus on perceived difficulties associated with visiting an optician. This group might have trouble with adjusting to new spectacles, changing frames or difficulties affording high quality spectacles. These customers delay visiting opticians until they experience visual difficulties.

This group is looking for value in Reducing costs, Reducing effort, Avoiding hassles, Simplification and Reducing anxiety.

1.4 Seekers

Patients who require technical details of lenses and more information. This group tends to require the ultimate solution, and are looking for innovation and the best in class options. They desire in-depth information about the latest product available and like you to recommend the optimum fit.

This group is looking for value in Quality, Information, Reducing Effort, Simplification, Integration.

In short ; you can characterize your patients based on the following: (i) Perceptions of spectacles in terms of style or attractiveness, (ii) the desire to maintain healthy eyesight and clear vision, (iii) perceptions of the difficulties associated with visiting the optician and purchasing spectacles, and (iv) seeking technical information about lens options.

Each business is unique, and so are your customers. Whilst the above segments can be useful to use as a basis, do think about the way this fits with your audience. The most important part about segmenting is that you are able to understand that there are different groups that have different needs. This is the starting point of personalized experiences based on value, not on mass information.

To specify your audience groups even further, you can add the demographic, geographic and product factors in. This way you have a full picture of the sizes of the groups you are serving, but more importantly, the different value they are seeking.

2. How to use segmentation for your benefit

You now have different groups, with different needs. Now is the time to think about your goals for your business. Is it to increase foot traffic, to increase medical examinations or to sell more designer frames? Once you’ve set your goals, you can determine which groups have the biggest potential of reaching these goals. Based on the value your patients seek, you are now able to design your messaging, communications approach and experience in store.

2.1 Determining your goals per group

Think about why you’re creating a customer segmentation strategy — ask yourself why you are spending time on segmentation and what you hope to derive from the process. This could be an increase in sales, footfall, or in medical exams, for example.

2.2 Creating holistic end to end experiences

Determine how you’re planning to reach your patients across their journey and your own internal organization. By ensuring all employees understand how your patients are segmented, staff will be able to more effectively target them. Set a plan that covers all the steps of the journey, from pre to post-purchase and create a clear process for all staff members to add value to that experience.

Think about instore assets, placement of products, calling and email strategies, segmented messages and communication/ sales conversations.

2.3 Analysing and adjusting

Analyzing your segmentation efforts will provide insight into the way you have organized your patients so you can make updates and changes if needed. The most valuable information always comes from involving your patients in the process.

Finally, make sure all this knowledge, care and foresight is fed to those who are helping you implement your vision. The world we return to will be forever changed, and it will belong to those who learn and shift their vision accordingly.


KPMG International (2020, June) Consumers and the new reality. Retrieved from:

Egol, M. Townsend, D (2020, June) Three capabilities will help retailers “win the trip” through and beyond the COVID-19 Crisis. Retrieved from
Almquist, E. Senior, J. Bloch, N (2016, September) The Elements of Value. Retrieved from

Sneader, K, Singhal, S (2020, May) From thinking about the next normal to making it work. Retrieved from